Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Western army fights on its stomach;what about the Taliban ?

June 18, 2010
(A Thanksgiving meal at Bagram airbase.Reuters file pic/Omar Sobhani)

(A Thanksgiving meal at Bagram airbase.Reuters file pic/Omar Sobhani)

Walking into a mess hall at Kandahar Air  Field in Afghanistan can be confusing.

Soldiers from NATO countries, walking in  all directions, have plenty to choose from. Asian workers load heaps of food on plates as long rows of soldiers wait patiently. There is the salad bar. The fruit bar. The bread toasting area. In the centre of  mess  halls are short order cooks who make stir fry meals, for instance. The drinks section offers everything from apple to multi-vitamin juices to chilled milk.

 If  soldiers are still thirsty and need a  quick sugar boost they can always turn to refrigerators packed with soft drinks. For the greedy – a sign says only two cans per person.

After a dizzying look at all that is on offer, I remembered, for some reason, someone telling me long ago how the  Vietnamese lived on tiny amounts of rice fighting the Americans.  Did that make them even harder fighters?  Probably.

What do  the Taliban eat? Are they loading up on  staggering amounts of Afghan food,  including the local equivalent of ice cream  and cake?  Are they comforted by air conditioning and entertained by sports  channels at canteens on huge, heavily-guarded bases where sirens blare when a rocket is fired at them?

Unlikely. Their  leader, Mullah Omar, who lost an eye  fighting Soviet occupiers, is known as a  simple man, from a simple background devoid of what his fighters would surely see as  shocking luxuries enjoyed by his Western  enemies.

 Smaller helpings may be good for the warrior’s psyche.


Well its proven that fighting a war need a good enough cause rather than a rich food. Vietenamese and Taliban who lost their dears and lost their dignity, being in sense of occupation, provided a good spirit to fight, which a food rich in vitamins ,relaxation and recreation fails to provid.

Posted by Khan | Report as abusive

The troops in afghanistan may enjoy the foods, but you need to also know that they dont get the free things they should, nor do they get to sleep in and eat whenever. They have a job that is getting done, and that job goes on all night and day. They get little sleep, and have little left of the food when not enough is around. They dont have the cable TV or the families from back home there with them…instead pictures hang on walls of huts they sleep in for few hours of the days. The trips are long, the bodies are few, but such a great job that they do. You may never understand what your freedoms are if it werent for these troops fighting afar. Maybe you should count your blessings and understand that you are lucky you are not the one out there fighting and being shot at and mortared. How about you go do their job if you want to sit there and say that the relaxation and recreation and vitamins in the food and all the other amentities our troops are finally getting are failing to provide. Maybe you havent seen the amount of deaths and the amount of freedom you live with…take a look at that, and go fight for yourself. These troops care about your life not theirs…so maybe you should care about theirs and not yours.

Posted by JP | Report as abusive

The Pashtoons are very simple people and mosty live on proteins and vitamins they obtain from from the grilled animal see the warriors enjoying their midday meals in the cities kebab restaurants and later they report at the battlefront several hundred miles away and confront the enemy at night or the eary morning. They do not miss amenities which the forign troops have for they are from a different metle.
Rex Minor

Posted by rex Minor | Report as abusive

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